Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dude, Shut up!

This is why sales reps often have such a bad name. Why people, who are normally pleasant, become raging rudesters when a telemarketer holds them hostage on the phone.

They refuse to acknowledge that there are instances when it's just a bad time to push their product.

I'm in the barber shop today and a sales guy comes in to sell the owner (who is my, ahem, stylist)credit card processing equipment. My bad, in all fairness, the equipment was FREE. I never heard what part involved money.

It didn't matter to this guy that I'm in the chair and the barber has a pair of sharp scissors and a blade next to my ear - which I'd really like to keep - or that they are several customers chomping at the bit for their turn in the chair. He comes in, elevator speech blazing, and proceeds to chew the barber's ear off about the wonders of electronic processing.

I immediately became testy.

First, I've been looking a bit ragged. It's been weeks since I've had a good cut.

With edits, work and cheer tryouts I haven't had time to get my 'do done. And the one and only day I found to do it, two weeks ago, wasn't my usual day. No surprise, my guy ran very late. After sitting there for an hour, in order to avoid walking into work at high noon, I had to let someone else cut me up.

My husband was not shy about letting me know that the cut was not...err, up to par. I believe his exact words were, "It looks horrible. Never go to anyone other than your regular barber."

Gee, Hon, thanks for not mincing words.

Second, did I mention there were sharp blades pointing near soft, fleshy parts of my head?

Okay, so I'm not really feeling this guy's sales schtick.

To my barber's credit, he let the guy do most of the talking, "um-humming" now and then and dropping several times that he has six other barbers who must pay him. He had mad concern about how he'd get his weekly fee if everything were handled electronically.

Finally, the guy pulls out what apparently was his piece de resistance - a five minute DVD with Terry Bradshaw lauding praise on this company's credit card processing equipment.

Yeah, because Terry Bradshaw (former NFL Quarterback/sometime actor/analyst for Fox Sunday NFL) is an expert on the best way to boost your small businesses revenue via electronic transactions.

Dude, it's called an endorsement. Bradshaw would say this equipment could stop a bullet as long as the check they paid him with didn't bounce.

But, of course, the DVD was a must-see. So he asks my barber if it's cool to play it. My barber um-hums again, never taking his eyes or hands off my head, thank God.

Luckily, I was finished before the DVD was set up.

I'll have to ask Moon if he bothered to buy-in. His one remark to me was that customers indeed come in wanting to use debit cards. So, he had genuine interest in the concept.

I'm sure if he ends up getting it, the sales rep will swear it was the DVD that sold him. Because he came back into the shop with the portable player, once more raving about the DVD and how people are totally sold once they hear Terry Bradshaw endorse the product.

It was all Moon could do not to laugh outright in his face as he said, "I don't really need to see the video. Why don't you just tell me how it works."

But following the script the guy says, "Yeah, but I really love showing this."

Okay, bet, as long as it shuts you up!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Myspace + YA Authors = <3

When I first signed up for my MySpace account, in the winter, it felt creepy. It totally felt like I was invading teen-land like those pervs they catch on Dateline's "To Catch a Predator" specials.

But quickly, I surrounded myself with Princess A's friends and others who I already "knew" either via real life or other online forums I frequented.

While none of the writers I've talked to have shown MySpace to turn into much dinero, all agree (and I as well) that MySpace is a great promo tool, and one of the best electronic ways to reach teens who love and admit to love reading.

The Reuters article below verifies MySpace isn't just for bands anymore. And I'm finally over feeling like a perv...except when some weirdo stranger friends me. Those I decline. Many of my friends are young girls - so I am selective.

It can work for you too if you have the time to build your community. Friend me if you're already out there at

Lonely authors link up on MySpace website

By Claudia Parsons, Reuters
15 June 2006 09:39 AEST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - No longer just for indie bands and tales of teen angst, the networking website is the latest outlet for authors to hook up with editors, sell books and seek solace when they're lonely.

Among the most popular sites on the web, particularly among teenagers, MySpace has millions of members who post personal profiles with links to friends and discussion groups. Several bands have won record contracts after posting their music.

"MySpace is changing every day ... I do see far more people my age and even older, " said 36-year-old Josh Kilmer-Purcell, one of four published authors who set up a collective page earlier this year at

The four launched a competition on the site this week, inviting budding writers to submit samples of their own memoirs, with the winner guaranteed a reading of their manuscript by editors at three major publishers.

"All of us have had rejection letters and have had a hard time getting an agent, " said Maria Dahvana Headley, whose book "The Year of Yes" about dating came out in January.

Kilmer-Purcell, whose book "I am Not Myself These Days" recounts his experience as a drag queen in New York, said he initially joined MySpace as a way to sell more books.

"In a way it's door-to-door sales but only to the right houses, " he said, adding that his strategy was to seek out members who participate in fan sites of certain authors.

"If I spend some time to invite people to be my friends, I can see my Amazon numbers increase, " he said.

He said the collective now provides more than just promotion. "Once you're on there, it's a little lonely as an author. You're surrounded by a bunch of teenagers and bands so we started seeking each other out, " he told Reuters.

He also uses the site to give readers more information.

"People buy the memoir which is all words and on MySpace I was able to put up video of my drag queen character, " he said.

Headley said the opportunity to share frustrations and tips with fellow authors helped counter the solitude of writing.

"All of us are memoirists so we're all sick of ourselves, " she said. "It's certainly more satisfying than being by yourself and thinking 'Oh my God, oh my God, ' and checking your Amazon rankings all the time."


Sarah Mlynowski, whose latest book "Frogs & French Kisses" was published this week, was among the founders of another authors' site at which now has around 70 published authors among its members.

"I joined (MySpace) in December and at first I didn't find that many, especially authors who write for adults. But now I've noticed a lot of women's fiction writers have started, " said Mlynowski who writes "chicklit" as well as teen books.

MySpace was the second most popular site on the Internet by page views as of May, according to comScore Networks. It was bought by News Corp. last year for about $US580 million.

George Hodgman, executive editor at publisher Henry Holt, said he was looking forward to seeing the competition winner.

"I trust these writers to separate the wheat from the chaff, " he said.

HarperCollins Senior Editor Alison Callahan said, "This is maybe a way to discover a diamond in the rough."

"I can't say I'd agree to publish it but I'd certainly agree to read it, " she said.

Mlynowski said the only problem with MySpace was finding time to write: "It's a huge distraction. It's a phenomenal way to promote and stay in touch, but it can kill a first draft."

(c) 2006 Reuters News Service

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

So, what do you do?

I have no idea how to answer this question when people ask.

It's not because my brain is fried from first round edits. A week at the ocean, away from email, ringing phones and wishing little elves would come into my office and finish the edits did wonders for my sanity. I am now, officially, only a little crazy.

Which is to say, back to normal.

But the answer to the question, "What do you do?" still eludes me.

I feel pompous saying "I'm an author," because that's not what I do full-time. Yes, I'm an author because Kensington Books says so. And dammit that's good enough for me.

BUT, everyday I go to my office overlooking the mechanics bay and Chinquapin Round Road (yes, at least I do have windows) to a desk cluttered with transit tchatckes. Very un-authorly.

I ordered business cards a few weeks ago and angsted over whether to put "writer" or "author" in the title line.

This is a real thing with me.

Finally, I ended up with "writer" on the biz card. Just couldn't bring myself to put author without cringing. It's a case of imposter's syndrome, no doubt that will haunt me until I walk into a bookstore and see my novel on a shelf.

Something about the tangible product being available makes me feel less gun shy about uttering the word "author" in association with my name.

Not that I'm shy about saying, "I'm a writer." I say it often. It's the "A" word that rarely tumbles from my lips.

And I don't mind saying I'm a writer because, at the risk of sounding ridiculously pretentious, writing is less about what I do than who I am. I've always written. I probably always will - whether I'm writing books, articles or ripping off a letter to some retailer who pissed me off (ya' know I'm talking to you Toys R' Us).

Writing is how I best express myself.

I'm not too shabby a public speaker (even if I have to say so, myself) but I put words together much better if I'm allowed to write them first. So I can call myself a writer and not bat an eye.

I'm slowly trying to get over my author shyness. Eight months from now, when my book is in stores all over the world...err...nation....ummm...East Coast...okay, I'll leave that Kensington. But when my book is out I'll start saying it on the regular. Promise!

Hi, my name is Paula and I write books.

Step one!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Awww...I love her!

I'm having one of the world's roughest weeks. Don't even get me started. But look what arrived in my email today. It's my new baby. Isn't she cute-ems?